I have a history of skin cancer and thought I had addressed all of my areas. About three years or so ago I discovered an area on my shin that looked odd. I hadn’t noticed it before and made an appointment to see my dermatologist. She performed a biopsy, removed it in her office and sent it to the lab. Results came back and it was basal-cell carcinoma.
I felt relieved that it had been removed and I made sure that it healed well. Fast forward and I noticed the spot was back and there was also another small area just below it. I went in to see my dermatologist and she biopsied it again. Results were back two days later and it was once again basal-cell carcinoma.
Yes, it’s back. I was a little surprised to hear the results and this is apparently not the norm and neither am I…lol! I want to share some information about basal-cell carcinoma.
Basal-Cell Carcinoma or BCC is the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer. They are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure. They almost never spread (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. Only in exceedingly rare cases can it spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, though: it can be disfiguring if not treated promptly. People who have had one BCC are at risk for developing others over the years, either in the same area or elsewhere on the body. Therefore, regular visits to a dermatologist should be routine so that not only the site(s) previously treated, but the entire skin surface can be examined.
This time I will be having the Mohs procedure performed on my shin. I will see the same physician who removed my squamous cell carcinoma on my ear in 2012. Mohs micrographic surgery removes a thin layer of tissue containing the tumor. While I am in the chair, frozen sections of my excised layer are mapped in detail and examined under a microscope, generally in an on-site laboratory. If cancer is present in any area of the excised tissue, the procedure is repeated only on the body area where those cancer cells were identified (the tissue mapping allows the Mohs surgeon to pinpoint this area of the body), until the last excised layer viewed microscopically is cancer-free. This technique can save the greatest amount of healthy tissue and has the highest cure rate, 99 percent or better. It is often used for large tumors in cosmetically important areas, and those that have recurred, are poorly demarcated (hard to pinpoint), or are in critical areas around the eyes, nose, lips, and ears, temple, scalp, or fingers.
The Skin Cancer Foundation at skincancer.org recommends that everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self examination of their skin, so that they can find any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable. If you spot anything suspicious, see a doctor.
When performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer. It should be done often enough to become a habit, but not so often as to feel like a bother. For most people, once a month is ideal, but ask your doctor if you should do more frequent checks.
I will share my Mohs experience with everyone once I have completed the procedure.
Please take care of your body and wear appropriate sunscreen as recommended by your dermatologist everyday!
The Sjögren’s and Lupus Foundation of Hawaii will be having a support group on August 24, 2018 at MOA Wellness from 5-7pm. Please visit slfhawaii.org for more information.
Be sure to subscribe at the bottom of this blog so that you can receive updates about new blogs and upcoming events.
START EACH DAY WITH A GRATEFUL HEART!
Please remember everyone’s body is different and unique. Always discuss any areas of concern about your autoimmune disease with your doctor.
Hugs to all…..You can do it!
Don’t be afraid of failure. If you never try, you will never succeed.